The 3 Minor Terrain Features Everyone Needs to Know

The 3 Minor Terrain Features Everyone Needs to Know

The 3 Minor Terrain Features To Know

When it comes to navigating through unfamiliar terrain, having a basic understanding of the different features you may encounter can greatly enhance your survival skills. While most people are familiar with major terrain features like mountains, valleys, and rivers, there are also minor terrain features that can provide crucial information for traveling, camping, and survival. In this article, we will explore the 3 minor terrain features that everyone should know about.

1. Ridges

Ridges are elevated landforms that run along the top of a hill or a mountain. They can be easily identified by their long and narrow shape. Ridges are useful for hikers and adventurers as they often provide clear pathways, making navigation easier. When you come across a ridge, it is essential to stay on top of it. By doing so, you can ensure that you remain on a level surface and avoid steep slopes or drop-offs on either side.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to make a decision on which direction to take, a ridge can be a valuable guide. Following a ridge can lead you to high ground, which can provide better visibility and a potential vantage point. This can be especially useful in emergency situations when you need to scout for help or find a safe location to set up camp.


– Use a compass to determine the direction of the ridge.
– Pay attention to any forks or intersections along the ridge and choose the most favorable path based on your objectives.
– Be cautious of potential hazards on either side of the ridge, such as loose rocks or cliffs.

2. Depressions

Depressions, also known as hollows or basins, are low-lying areas surrounded by higher ground. They can vary in size from small dips in the land to larger bowl-shaped features. It is important to be aware of depressions when planning your route, as they can affect the ease of travel and provide important information about the surrounding terrain.

When navigating through depressions, it is crucial to keep an eye out for potential drainage patterns. Depressions often collect water from higher ground, forming small streams or wet areas. These water sources can be vital for survival, especially in dry or desert environments. Additionally, depressions can act as natural windbreaks, providing shelter and protection from harsh weather conditions.


– Take note of any drainage patterns within the depression and follow them if you need a water source.
– Avoid setting up camp in a depression, as it may be prone to flooding during heavy rains.
– Be cautious of hidden obstacles or uneven terrain within the depression, such as rocks or tree stumps.

3. Saddle

A saddle is a narrow, low-lying area between two higher points of land, resembling the shape of a horse’s saddle. It is essentially a dip or a pass in the terrain. Saddle features can be useful for travelers as they often offer a relatively level route between two higher points, making it easier to traverse compared to going over the peaks.

When coming across a saddle, it is important to assess the overall topography of the area. Saddle areas are typically more exposed to wind and weather conditions, so it is essential to consider the potential for gusty winds or extreme temperatures. However, if the saddle provides a shortcut between two destinations or offers a favorable route, it can be a strategic path to take.


– Take note of any landmarks or distinctive features around the saddle to aid in navigation.
– Adjust your pace and travel speed according to weather conditions, as saddles can be more exposed.
– Be cautious of potential hazards, such as loose rocks or steep slopes, when approaching or descending a saddle.

My 2 Cents

Understanding minor terrain features can significantly enhance your ability to navigate through unfamiliar terrain and improve your chances of survival. By being knowledgeable about ridges, depressions, and saddles, you can make informed decisions about the best routes to take, find valuable resources such as water sources, and utilize natural features for shelter and protection. Remember, always stay observant and use these minor terrain features to your advantage. Stay safe and happy exploring!